Cheesy Shania Twain jokes from Ellen DeGeneres aside, I actually really enjoyed the majority of the performances on American Idol this week. I'm not a huge Shania Twain fan, but I've been known to enjoy her music.
Lee Dewyze kicked off the night singing "You're Still The One." I thought it would be better for him to take the opportunity to rock out this week, but this song actually was quite the fit for Lee. The tone of his voice throughout the performance sounded great, up until the last note, where it just went flat as he ended the song. Overall, he had a great performance, but I worry that his last note may land him in the bottom three this week. There's only six contestants left and anything's possible. Will I be outraged when if it happens? Oh, you betcha.
The judges really liked Lee's performance. Simon Cowell told him that it "was absolutely the perfect song." As much as I really wanted Lee to go more uptempo, I really enjoyed his performance. For me, it was the best of the night.
And my own friends may throw things at me for saying this, but I sort of got the same vibe from this performance as I did when David Cook performed Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby" back in season seven. Is Lee this season's David Cook? Not really, but I love that they both took their respective songs and put their own spin on it. I really just had a similar feeling resonate with me last night while watching Lee and it did remind me of how I felt when David performed a couple years ago. It's a mix of being proud and a wee bit smitten. (I have a feeling that I should be ducking from flying objects.)
Following Lee was Mike Lynche who sang "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing." (I may have mistyped at first and put "Listening" instead of "Breathing." Quite the Freudian slip there. My bad!) Again, Mike turned in a very solid, predictable, and boring performance. He does the same thing week after week. The judges apparently don't seem to mind, Ellen compared him to Luther Vandross; I find that comment to be completely off base. To each their own, I guess. Simon told Mike that it was "a little bit wet." Is it season eight, already? I am pretty sure he told that to Kris Allen during the Top Five last season. I know Simon's leaving after this season, but I wish he would keep his quips fresh.
Casey James performed the song "Don't." Before his performance, Casey told Ryan that the difference between this performance and previous ones was that he was "singing a lot more." Thank you for finally recognizing that you are in a singing competition, Casey.
Performance-wise, Casey did pretty well. For me, he was in the mid-range of my favorite performances this week. There's an aspect to Casey's singing voice that I still cannot handle. When he pulls out the longer notes, I just cringe. I disagree with that the judges told him, this was his best performance. I think that "Jealous Guy" was a lot better and showed that he's capable of showing emotion during a song.
Crystal Bowersox was up next performing "No One Needs To Know." When I looked over the list of songs the contestants could sing this week, I had a feeling that Crystal might sing this one, even though, like Lee, I wanted her to just rock out. "No One Needs To Know" is definitely along the lines of Crystal's vibe, but I thought it was a predictable choice. She does get points for keeping the country feel to it.
I reluctantly have to agree with the judges, for as much as I love Crystal and think she's going to win this season, this was not her best performance. I don't think it was awful, but it was just maybe too mellow? She had her carpet, her mic stand, and a band behind her, but still I didn't feel like I had witnessed anything too amazing going on during her performance. Although, there's no denying that when she went up into her falsetto range, she sounded fantastic.
Also, Crystal's backtalk to the judges needs to stop. The first couple times, when she had valid points, I didn't entirely mind. She was really defensive about her performance this week, and I really thought she was overstepping the boundaries of banter and just being sort of obnoxious. As much as I adore "Mamasox," she needs to take a lesson from Tim Urban and just smile and nod when the judges tell her something she doesn't want to hear. (Also, to Crystal's boyfriend, whom she said she was singing the song about to encourage him to put a ring on her finger, hint hint, dude. Also, can you see him proposing to her during the finale? It would be an Idol first!)
Aaron Kelly followed singing "You've Got A Way." I knew Aaron was going to go the big, booming ballad route this week, and I really thought he delivered. For me, I thought this was his best performance of the season. Shocking that it would happen during pseudo-country week, right? All of Aaron's notes were on point and were carried out beautifully. He deserved all the praise he received from the judges. It was one of my favorite performances of the night.
Siobhan Magnus was in the coveted "pimp spot," singing "Any Man of Mine." This was the song I really wanted Crystal to sing this week. I wanted to rip the song from Siobahan's hands and stick "That Don't Impress Me Much" in its place and just let her have at it. Siobhan was really lacking the attitude that this song needs to be performed with. She could have projected attitude with her stage presence or with her outfit (what was she wearing last night — floral drapes?) or at the very least her voice! And no, I am not talking about the unnecessary screechy note, that was so off pitch I kind of took offense to it. She took her Shania song and totally ran it through the paper mill. At least that's what I thought her horrid last few notes sounded like. At least I'm not comparing her to giving birth like Simon did. (Line of the season, by the way!) I really think the judges were happy that she wasn't singing another ballad and that's where all their praise was coming from. For me, it was the worst of all the performances, because of the big, screechy, pitchy note at the end.
Did anyone happen to notice how many times Randy Jackson said "wheelhouse" last night? I was ready to turn Idol into a drinking game. I can understand wanting to change it up, but describing two or three performances the same way? C'mon dawg, you can do better than that.
Which performance did you enjoy the most last night? What did you think about the song choices? And who do you think is going home?